Santa Barbara Dance Theater; Photo by Brandon Whited
Santa Barbara Dance Theater; Photo by Brandon Whited

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IMPRESSIONS: The Snow Globe Show

IMPRESSIONS: The Snow Globe Show

Published on February 16, 2012
Christopher Duggan

Monica Bill Barnes at Joe's Pub.

IMPRESSIONS: The Snow Globe Show
at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater on February 10, 2012 at 7pm


Choreography by Monica Bill Barnes
Performed by Anna Bass and Monica Bill Barnes
Special Appearances by Kevin Townley, Jeffrey Kazin and members of the Juilliard Freshman Class


Tara Sheena for The Dance Enthusiast*
 

Monica Bill Barnes is a pint-sized performer with a super-size stage presence and Joe’s Pub in many ways is a perfect venue for her work: small stage, intimate audience, and a space that harkens to the old-time vaudeville acts her work echoes and contemporizes.

She enters the restaurant/theater armed with a full-length gold sequin dress and a creative partner-in-crime, Anna Bass. The duo is draped in black parkas, sneakers, and a large wooden frame lined with a vintage red curtain. Theatrical shenanigans commence as the women assemble their frame moving through a flurry of bouncing arm movements and flinging legs. They seat themselves in the center of the stage but can barely remain there: they have enough energy to run a 5k race. Bringing me further into Barnes' loopy world is a live recording of Otis Redding howling, "Shake," his 1965 hit. Is it this version of the song or the dancers' marathon moxie that has my brain spinning?  Either way I feel  myself inching closer and closer to the edge of my seat. I am convinced Barnes is the modern dance queen of fancy footwork.

 

 

The Snow Globe Show,  Photo © Christopher Duggan


The other natives in Monica Bill Barnes' world are a group of Juilliard freshmen who come out midway through the show to perform an abbreviated version of The Way it Feels, a work Barnes set on them this past fall. The pub suddenly transforms into a school gymnasium -complete with a disco ball that is mounted by Barnes herself. The group - men donned in suit pants and white collared shirts and women in various expressions of “middle school dance attire” - let their awkward slow moves shift into a choreographed line dance of sorts; complete with shimmies, step touches, and a fist pump or two.

Apart from her humorous movement choices, I can never leave a Monica Bill Barnes performance without acknowledging my appreciation for her pairing of music and movement. The way she uses soul and R&B gives her movement the most punch and power it can hold. Her movement - part cartoon, part satire- always illuminates the music and takes me on a journey. 

 

 

 

See Monica Bill Barnes at the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Festival
Performances March 9-11th, 2012 Click here

*Editor's Note- This article has been re-published due to errors in the original piece.

 


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